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THE SHANNON COUNTY BEE

NEWS SECTION

The Jennings of Eminence Welcome Back Their California Girl

Paul and Myrtle Jennings of Eminence had a special guest from California at their farmhouse this past weekend. Their granddaughter Mattie Jennings returned to her hometown while on break from her work as a court stenographer in Los Angeles. The weather cooperated with just one brief snow flurry confined to Friday evening, and the Jennings family was able to have a “wonderful time” with their visitor.

Mattie Jennings is not just any court reporter, but one of much renown.  As we reported in these pages a year ago, she holds the national shorthand stenotype record at 390 words per minute.  She also sits as the only court reporter in the nation certified to provide real-time narration and hyper-linking along with what in her wake must now be called the mere “standard” service of recording oral testimony.

The experience of reading Mattie’s all-encompassing transcripts has been likened to staring into the abyss. Or darker yet, at the face of Medusa. Witnesses have recanted. Judges have recused themselves. Lawyers have abruptly ended their careers or–even more severe–taken on pro bono work, all after seeing their true selves reflected in Miss Jennings’ works of art.

The Bee caught up with Mattie Saturday morning at Ella’s Cafe on Main Street, where she was keeping her professional skills honed and toned by taking realtime shorthand of everything said and done at the cafe.  She says she has known her destiny since meeting a new friend on her 30th birthday, but declined to reveal the friend’s identity.

“I became very good friends with the smartest person in the world,” she said Saturday, throwing us a bone.  ”And he will tell you that he is great pals with the fastest and most unforgiving transmitter of fact and experience in the world.  So as a team, we have as good as chance as any to unlock the secrets of the human condition.” [Note: This paper will not print any of the idle speculation regarding the mysterious friend that has long percolated in Eminence. The only thing fit to print is that one of our town's most accomplished daughters is now 35 and at the top of her game.]

Mattie says that while the secret to life is her worthy goal, there are still bills to be paid.  ”I’m not rich, California’s not cheap, so I’m keeping my day job.  Would you like to see my transcript of the past ten minutes?”

We politely declined. The last Bee reporter who peered into one of her instant transcripts was so shaken that he quit his job, sold his house here in town, and moved into a cabin out in the Mark Twain National Forest. He has not shot himself yet but is working on a novel that he says will “redeem the Ozarks in a national mind that’s been persuaded by Winter’s Bone that we are all meth-addled fiends killing each other in the gritty snow and ice of a god-forsaken third world.”

Mattie’s activities during her weekend with her family members included horseback riding, meditation at Rocky Falls, a hike through virgin snow to beautiful Greer Spring, and a whiskey-tasting event at Hawkins Inn.

Snow Days “Unforgivable”

The ranking member of the Shannon County School District wants to forgive at least five days of school missed due to the Feb. 1 blizzard that resulted in a statewide emergency declaration.

However, the board voted down Sappho Leucas’ motion and issued a statement that there is no need because the district and the state already have makeup day formulas.

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